Why Your Prayers Don’t Work


After our responses to the Ask A Mixed Faith Couple were posted, someone commented on Facebook that they prayed for Jason and me to become a one-faith couple again. They said that God answers prayers and would answer this one as well. This isn't the only time I've seen that expressed. I get emails along these lines pretty regularly. People who tell me with their words that they are praying for my husband to come back to God. I appreciate your concern, but I want to be honest with you. At three and half years in, I don't see your prayers doing any good.  I know it's not great to admit that. I'm supposed to exercise faith. I'm supposed to remember that "the prayer of a righteous man avails much." I'm supposed to believe that whatever we ask in God's name will be given to … [Read more...]

Three Obligations I Have as a Faith Blogger

Bangladesh bloggers

Today atheists, agnostics, skeptics, humanists, and all kinds of other non-religious folks are organizing to protest the imprisonment of three atheist bloggers in Bangladesh. They could face up to 10 years in prison, or potentially the death penalty. For blogging. They are not alone. Alexander Aan is an Indonesian atheist who was arrested for admitting on Facebook that he was an atheist. Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed and then arrested for his lack of faith. Sanal Edamaruku is an Indian atheist who is living in exile to avoid arrest for explaining that a weeping statue was caused by leaky pipes. Now I recognize that these countries are not the United States. I know that we do not send people to jail for writing harshly about religion. I am deeply grateful for the freedoms that I enjoy … [Read more...]

Atheist Lessons in Faith

The Book of Mormon

This past weekend, Jason and I finally got away for a trip with just the two of us. We went to Chicago, where we gorged ourselves on fantastic food, listened to some great live music, spent an hour in the cold waiting to go into an aquarium, and just enjoyed being a couple for a few days. One of the reasons we chose Chicago for our destination is because Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s acclaimed musical The Book of Mormon is playing there. We are both huge fans of their work and have been looking forward to seeing this show for a long time. I love Parker and Stone because absolutely nothing is sacred to them, which means they are brutally honest in everything they write. On the other hand, nothing is sacred to them, which means when I say they are brutal, I mean, they are brutal. I was … [Read more...]

Those Other Atheists

atheist duck

I remember back when atheists were easy to identify. I could pick them out because they wore lab coats or tweed jackets with patches on them. They could be found in universities where they would talk about NPR and Origin of Species. They looked down on everyone, but especially Christians because they hated God and morality and America. When atheists fit into neat little boxes, it makes it much easier to nod our heads in agreement with those who would demonize them. They are the ones responsible for clerks who say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. They are the ones responsible for the lack of organized prayer in schools. They are the ones responsible  for the removal of the 10 Commandments from court rooms. Therefore, they are the ones responsible for mass shootings of … [Read more...]

Why the Church needs to stop reaching out

I was reading through my Facebook feed recently and saw that someone liked an interview with Jennifer Knapp. It was a person I do not generally associate with being LGBT affirming, so I was surprised to see an interview with a gay Christian where she spoke openly about her faith and orientation on their page. As I read what they had to say, I gained a bit of understanding. They posted the article so that "Christians can minister to those in the gay community." I often hear (and have said myself) that the Church needs to reach out to those in the LGBT community. You may also hear that the Church needs to reach out to liberals. And agnostics. And atheists. And any number of "others." But here's the thing. They're already there. Whatever group it is that we think we need to … [Read more...]

No God is Fine With Me

Yesterday the Democratic party put God back in politics. After initially excluding God from the original platform, they pushed him right back in yesterday by a really iffy vote. I'm sure God is really happy to be shoe-horned back into politics. I want to be really clear. My faith informs my political choices. I expect this is the case for most people of faith, even faiths outside of Christianity. What we believe tends to affect all areas our of lives, at least in some way. However, I also want to be very clear that saying that my faith informs my political leanings is not the same thing as saying God informs my political leanings. All too often I think we make that mistake in our language. Faith is an individual, personal thing.  When I say personal, I don't mean … [Read more...]

Guest Post at FriendlyAtheist.com

On Sunday, my friend Hemant Mehta posted a challenge, asking progressive Christians to show their support not only for the LGBT community, but also for equality, under the idea that our actions need to match our language. I happily retweeted his comment, but I have noticed that whenever I (or any other progressive Christian friends) speak about something less orthodox, our faith is called into question. Not only by the more traditional evangelical set, but also by many within the atheist community. I mentioned this to Hemant on Twitter and he thought it might be an interesting guest post for his site. So I did just that. Head over to Hemant's site and give it a read. And to anyone visiting from Hemant's site, welcome! Take a look around and say hello. (And thank you, yet again, to … [Read more...]

Things That Have Gone Missing Because My Husband is an Atheist

Lost and Found

When Jason came out to me about being an atheist, I assumed that there would be a litany of shared interests that would be missing due to his lack of faith. Some are what you would expect, like attending church together regularly or having a singular vision for our children's spiritual education. To be sure, there are times when I absolutely miss these moments. But I have also discovered that because of his deconversion, there are other things that have gone missing, many that I didn't expect. My assumptions about what atheists think about Christians. Obviously I don't know all of the atheists in the world, but my interactions with the bulk of the atheists that I've met online and those I've met in person through Jason have pretty much shattered how I assumed that group felt about … [Read more...]

Don’t Manipulate Me

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, one of the primary reasons that I believe in God is because of music. There is something about the way that music moves me that connects me to that which is bigger than me. I have found this to be true, regardless of genre. Music does not have to be specifically Christian to touch me. In fact, some of my most spiritual moments have occurred while listening to music that is not Christian (every time I listen to this piece by Aaron Copland, I am assured of the divine). Because of this, I'm sometimes disappointed by faith music. Surely if I can connect with God through secular music, I should be able to find him during sacred music, right? One common complaint that I hear from those outside of the Church is that much modern Christian music is simply … [Read more...]

Guest Post at FriendlyAtheist.com

The story of Jessica Ahlquist is not a new one. A young atheist asked her public school to remove a prayer from the wall. They refused. The issue went to court, the young woman won (of course, because she is 100% correct in this case), and all hell broke loose. Florists refused to deliver flowers to her. She received death threats from her (largely Christian) community. She needed a police escort to school. State representative Peter G. Palumbo called her "an evil little thing."I'm a firm believer in cleaning up the shit in one's own house, and my Christian friends? We've got a big steaming pile of it in our living room that we've all been stepping around. I spent a morning searching for Christian blogs that addressed this issue and came up empty.We have failed. Miserably.Today I'm posting … [Read more...]